If you do not intend to learn accurate basic strategy, you can cut the house edge to about 1 % by playing an approximate basic strategy. Follow these rules:
1. Never take insurance.
2. If the dealer’s upcard is 7, 8, 9, X, or A, hit until you get to hard 17 or more.
3. If the dealer’s upcard is 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, stand on all your stiffs, hard hands of 12 through 16.
4. Hit all soft hands of soft 17 (A6) and less.
5. Stand on soft 18 (A7) or higher.
6. Double down on 10 and 11 against any dealer upcard from 2 through 9.
7. Always split aces and 8s.
8. Never split 4s, 5s, or 10s.
9. Split all other pairs—2s, 3s, 6s, 7s, and 9s—if the dealer shows up—cards of 4, 5, or 6.
10. Surrender 16 vs. 9, X or A.
In Multi-Action games, your basic strategy does not change. Always play every hand exactly as if it is the only hand on the table. Do not be afraid to hit your stiffs—a common Multi-Action error. The Multi-Action format does not alter the house percentage, or basic strategy, in any way.
If you intend to learn to count cards, you first have to nail down accurate basic strategy. Once you know basic strategy, your decisions will become automatic. Even when counting cards, you will still play basic strategy on 80% or more of your hands. A basic strategy is your single most powerful weapon.